Nothing unites a community like a common enemy. So you'd be forgiven for thinking that the gay community doesn't have any at the moment.
Not the drug and alcohol abuse that's so prevalent, nor the mental health crisis that many gay men suffer from in silence. Not the never-ending stream of suicides that you hear about from friends and Facebook - so many that you have to stop counting on your fingers.
Or the bigots that so many of us face just going about our business day to day; nor those groups who look forward to the day they can roll back the equal rights that so many in our community - of all stripes - fought so hard to secure on our behalf. Or even just society itself, scarring us with toxic shame from which some never heal.
Because with so many enemies, so many issues that urgently need addressing, you'd think we'd stick together like glue. So why does it so often feel like the gays are anything but a community?
The colour of a person's skin, the limpness of their wrist, the size of their waist - almost anything. Name it and there will be people in this 'community' attacking, abusing, ridiculing and shaming. This may be a newsflash, although it shouldn't be.
We're not lacking in hatred directed towards us. There are more than enough people outside of the community that are willing to provide it, thanks very much. We should be sick and tired of prejudice, but many seem to have learnt the wrong lessons from the discrimination we've all faced:
• the guys with no Fats, no Fems, no Asians on their dating profiles
• the curtain twitchers who shade those in three way relationships but shout at homophobes who think they can stick their noses into people's bedrooms
• the gym crew who seem to pick their friends based on arm size, ridiculing those who've never lifted a weight and refusing to even talk to twinks in a nightclub, just in case skinny is contagious
• the fashionistas sneering at the muscleboys, seeing them as nothing but vacuous narcissists concerned only with appearance (as if fashion is so much more!)
• the 'straight actors' who hate the 'twinks', who sneer at the 'daddies' (tick tock youngsters), who look down on the 'bears'.
The list goes on and on. Round and round the community goes, on this crap carousel. Each group sat on their hypocritical high horse, casting judgement on anyone that doesn't fit the labels we've divided ourselves into.
If Freud wanted to explore the narcissism of small differences he could have found out everything he needed to know by going to a gay club. Everyone in their corner, side-eyeing the rest, careful not to cross-contaminate tribal DNA.
But then why should gays be different to any other group in society? People are arseholes. Why should we hold our community to a higher standard?
It's really quite simple. And it shouldn't have to keep being repeated, not to each other anyway. Very few of us had an easy time growing up gay in a straight world. Laughed at in playgrounds, spat on in straight nightclubs, discriminated against in the workplace, and attacked in the streets. Until recently we couldn't marry the people we loved. Not so long ago we were illegal.
Yet despite all this, despite the struggle that our community has gone through for acceptance and the hell many of us go through to finally accept ourselves, there are far too many people in this community perfectly content to deny that acceptance to others.
Gay people have a long line of enemies at their door. Why on earth do so many want to be at the front of that queue?Suggest a correction